Disability Tip Sheets

Tip Sheets Provide Information about Disabilities and Conditions to Help Leaders in the Physical Activity, Recreation and Sport Sectors Be Inclusive

Research Suggests that Canadians with Disabilities are Less Likely to Meet the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines. There are many contributing reasons why people with disabilities seldom achieve the Guidelines, including: economic disparity; lack of access to transportation to get to programs and facilities; feelings of intimidation; and fewer programs, services and qualified staff. Physical activity is an important part of daily life for individuals with disabilities, as being active contributes to physical and mental health benefits, self-empowerment and social connectedness.

The following tip sheets provide information about a number of disabilities and conditions to help physical activity, recreation and sport leaders better serve people with disabilities in their programs.

An acquired brain injury is caused by trauma or a blow to the head. It occurs most commonly as a result of motor vehicle accidents, a fall, consequence of an assault/violence, or through a sport injury. An ABI usually causes permanent damage to the brain and results in impaired functioning.

Aging is a term which describes the process that encompasses a decline in productivity, performance and health over time. As we age, we inevitably become frailer, susceptible to age-related degenerative disease, and more vulnerable to acquiring a disability.

Amputations can occur through a congenital condition, or they may take place through a traumatic injury to an individual’s limbs (hand(s), arm(s), foot/feet or leg(s)). An amputation may be minor, involving fingers or toes or a small part of a hand or foot.

Anxiety Disorders often appear first during one’s teenage years but may also be related to having experienced psychological trauma or abuse.

Asthma is a chronic lung condition which is characterized by restricted airways, causing difficulty with breathing. The airways are affected by both tightening and inflammation of the muscles.

Blindness is the condition of lacking visual perception. There are varying degrees of blindness, from having zero % of visual perception, to having a slightly higher percentage. An individual with zero % light perception is considered blind.

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a term used to explain a neurological condition which impacts muscle coordination and body movement. CP is regarded as a non progressive condition brought about by an injury to the developing brain. That said, the effects of CP can change with time.

A person who is deafblind has a substantial degree of loss in sight and hearing, the combination of which results in significant difficulties in accessing information.

Developmental disabilities are most often congenital and can have a broad range of effects on the individual. Some have exaggerated emotions and can be boisterous and happy most of the time. They can also have emotions that are easily triggered and they may be easily upset.

Epilepsy is a chronic brain condition that causes repetitive seizures. It can affect people of all ages. The cause is not well understood. Some people may acquire epilepsy as a result of stroke, brain injury, viral infections of the brain (i.e.

Deafness is defined as the absence of functional hearing, where an individual is reliant on visual means of communication such as sign language, lip-reading, reading and writing. An individual who is hard of hearing can understand some speech through their ears.

It is estimated that over 18 million people in Canada and the USA have a mobility impairment, according to the National Mobility Equipment Dealer's Association. A mobility impairment can be defined as a disabling condition which requires an adaptation.

Mood disorders may affect individuals of all ages. Depression is much more complex than simply calling it severe sadness. It can be very overwhelming and unlike normal sadness. It can be sadness for no apparent reason.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory condition in which nerve cell covers become damaged. This damage inhibits the communication of information throughout the nervous system, which in turn can predispose an individual to a range of physical, mental and psychiatric problems.

Dissociative disorders may affect individuals of all ages. Some appear after puberty but may occur earlier. Some disorders may be the result of traumatic abuse or brain injuries.

A spinal cord injury is trauma or damage to the spinal cord which results in a loss or impairment of function, leading to a reduction in mobility or feeling. Traumatic SCI can occur through car crashes, falls, gun shots or sport injuries among other causes.

A stroke is a condition wherein brain cells die due to a lack of oxygen, caused either by an obstruction to the blood flow or the rupture of an artery which feeds the brain. For a stroke victim, this may lead to an inability to speak, memory problems or partial paralysis.